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ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture

Weekly Harvest Newsletter
Sustainable Agriculture News Briefs - January 29, 2020

Weekly sustainable agriculture news and resources gleaned from the Internet by NCAT staff for the ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture website. The Weekly Harvest Newsletter is also available online.

News & Resources

  • Videos Offer Insight on Organic Row Crop Cultivation
  • Vermont Legal Food Hub to Provide Free Services to Farmers
  • CFSA Offers Farm and Food Policy Questions for Candidates
  • Guide Helps in Developing Farm to School Programs
  • FSA Revises Farm Loan Information
  • Hemp Yield Insurance to Be Offered

Funding Opportunities

  • AFRI Pests and Beneficial Species in Agricultural Production Systems
  • Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Grants
  • Minnesota Specialty Crop Block Grants

Coming Events

  • California Small Farm Conference
  • MOSES Organic Farming Conference
  • Local Food Connects Conference

News & Resources

Videos Offer Insight on Organic Row Crop Cultivation
The Organic Grain Resource and Information Network (OGRAIN) has posted a series of nine videos, "The Art and Science of Cultivation." In these videos, experienced organic farmer and consultant Gary McDonald discusses equipment, techniques, and adjustments for successful row-crop cultivation. In videos ranging from two to 12 minutes, McDonald addresses the tractor, the cultivator, cultivation timing, and more.

Vermont Legal Food Hub to Provide Free Services to Farmers
Vermont Law School and Conservation Law Foundation announced the launch of the Vermont Legal Food Hub, a program that will match income-eligible farmers and business owners with skilled attorneys willing to provide free legal services. It has already recruited attorneys from 10 law firms and placed two pilot cases. The Hub is currently recruiting additional attorneys and accepting applications for legal assistance from Vermont farmers, food entrepreneurs, and related organizations.

CFSA Offers Farm and Food Policy Questions for Candidates
The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) compiled a set of questions that voters can ask candidates regarding issues that affect food and farming. This guide is meant to support candidates in thinking about food, farming, food security, community gardening, and the environment. The guide includes sample questions for candidates for local, statewide, and federal offices. Although many questions are specific to North Carolina and South Carolina, some are applicable for other locations, as well.

Guide Helps in Developing Farm to School Programs
Vermont FEED has released Connecting Classrooms, Cafeterias, Communities: A Guide to Building Integrated Farm to School Programs, a free online guide to support school communities in developing robust, long-lasting farm to school programs. The guide addresses farm to school action planning and goes through a step-by-step process to help assemble a team, identify shared goals, and plan and conduct strategic activities. In addition, it covers classroom curriculum, school meal programs, and community building.
Related ATTRA Publication: Related ATTRA Publication: Farm to School Sales: Profiles of Ranches Making It Work

FSA Revises Farm Loan Information
USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has revised two of its information guides on farm loans. Your Guide to FSA Farm Loans simplifies information on the types of farm loans available; how to apply for a guaranteed loan, direct loan, or land contract guarantee; what you can expect once you submit your application; and FSA customer rights and responsibilities. Meanwhile, Your FSA Farm Loan Compass simplifies information regarding the responsibilities of FSA loan borrowers and the loan servicing options available to them. Both publications are available in English and Spanish.
Related ATTRA Publication: Financing Your Farm: Guidance for Beginning Farmers

Hemp Yield Insurance to Be Offered
Praedictus Climate Solutions announced that Diversified Crop Insurance Services plans to offer Parametric Hemp Production Coverage policies across the lower 48 United States for the crop year 2020. This coverage provides protection from climatic conditions by assessing each season's viability for growing hemp, accounting for temperature, precipitation, and solar radiation.

>>More Breaking News

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Funding Opportunities

AFRI Pests and Beneficial Species in Agricultural Production Systems
The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) - Foundational and Applied Science Program supports grants in six areas to advance knowledge in both fundamental and applied sciences important to agriculture. One of those program areas is Plant Health and Production and Plant Products, and within this area a priority is Pests and Beneficial Species in Agricultural Production Systems. Grants up to $500,000 are available. This program seeks to advance knowledge of plant pests and associated beneficial species, leading to innovative and biologically based strategies to manage pests.
Applications are due by March 12, 2020.

Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Grants
Wisconsin farmers and businesses seeking to grow their local markets can apply for 2020 Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin producer and processor grants. The grants can help farms and businesses more efficiently produce, process, market, and distribute food in local markets, including stores, schools, and institutions. A total of $300,000 is available; the maximum award for each project is $50,000. Applicants must provide a cash or in-kind match of at least 50% of the total project budget.
Proposals must be received by February 28, 2020.

Minnesota Specialty Crop Block Grants
Organizations that benefit Minnesota fruit, vegetable, and other specialty crop producers can apply for USDA Specialty Crop Block Grants through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Nonprofit organizations, producer organizations, government agencies, universities, and other agricultural groups can apply, as well as for-profit entities, farms, and other businesses that aim to enhance sector-wide competitiveness of specialty crops through research, education, or marketing projects. Grants range from $10,000 to $100,000 per project.
Applications are due by March 10, 2020.

>>More Funding Opportunities

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Coming Events

California Small Farm Conference
February 27-29, 2020
Paso Robles, California
At the California Small Farm Conference, pre-conference events include intensive trainings, field days, and tours. The main conference includes educational workshops, panels, interactive forums, and networking opportunities.

MOSES Organic Farming Conference
February 27-29, 2020
LaCrosse, Wisconsin
MOSES Organic Farming Conference is the country's largest educational event on organic farming. It features 60 workshops over six sessions, 10 full-day classes, a trade show, and round-table discussions, plus opportunities to network.

Local Food Connects Conference
February 27-28, 2020
Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Local Food Connects Conference will bring together market managers, farmers, and local food advocates from across New Mexico for two days of information sharing, resources, and inspiration.

>>More Events

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Montana Farm's Profound Changes

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How can I protect my soil's surface?

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